Forum held Tuesday to discuss usage of Medical Marijuana
State Representative DJ Johnson and Owensboro Police Department Lt. Col JD Winkler were among panellists for a medical cannabis forum held Wednesday night at Kentucky Wesleyan College.
Johnson said it took state lawmakers this long to pass a medical marijuana measure because they had to get 138 politicians to agree on it.
“It didn’t happen until this year because there weren’t enough votes to make it. I mean, it’s just that simple. I don’t think there’s any philosophical answer I can give you, just that it just was a matter of individuals,” Johnson said.
Using himself as an example, Johnson said he was adamantly against medical cannabis 7 years ago. He initially said he wasn’t going to make a stance until the federal government did, and then he realized that wasn’t going to happen.
Over the years, he spoke to different people who had used medical marijuana firsthand for a number of reasons including veterans, individuals recovering from traumatic brain injury, and more.
“I heard story after story that convinced me that despite the fact that I believe that the federal government … should be the one to follow through on (some sort of legislation), I could not sit by and hang on to it and watch people suffer,” he said.
Johnson said while he is overall supportive of the limited use, he has also seen marijuana in a negative light. He mentioned that he’s seen it tear apart families, caused people to lose their jobs, and more.
Winkler said how parents talk to their child about drugs and drug use can influence whether cannabis becomes a gateway to other drugs. For instance, if parents caution their children that a certain drug such as cannabis can be incredibly harmful even on first use, but a child tries cannabis and don’t experience immediate strong effects, the child may begin to question whether harder drugs are as dangerous as they were warned about.
Winkler added that he thinks increased marijuana usage could have an impact on the opioid crisis going on, saying it would add a new drug to the market.
Also among the panelists were Julie Cantwell and Kristin Wilcox, board members of Kentucky Moms for Medical Cannabis Advisory. They both said that cannabis has been monumental in their children’s lives.
However, they both agreed that in all situations cannabis should only be available medicinally.
“I don’t believe in creational cannabis use. I believe that all cannabis use is medicinal,” Cantwell said. “No matter what reason you’re using it for, you’re getting medicinal benefits from it.”